THE CONTROVERSY OVER DILETTANTISM AND ITS REFLECTION IN CZECH DECADENT LITERATURE
The article concentrates on a key concept of the 'Fin de Siecle' in Europe - namely, 'dilettantism' and its connection with Czech Decadent literature. Dilettantism, as explained by Paul Bourget in his essay on Ernest Renan (1883), is characterized by the individual's refusal to forego any possible experience by adhering to a setmode of (intellectual) life. The 'dilettante critic' originates in the idea of the 'critic as artist' as developed by Oscar Wilde, who in turn is indebted to Pater's conception of the 'aesthetic critic'. In dilettantism there are many pitfalls: the dilettante may be the perfect embodiment of the 'Decadent' type with his Willenskrankheit, hypertrophied (self-)analysis, over-refinement, hyper-aestheticism, eclecticism, and sterility. Arnost Prochazka (1869-1925), for instance, applies the term 'dilettante' to Andrea Sperelli (the hero of Dilettantism), modelled on Huysmans's 'Des Esseintes'. The controversies over Dilettantism appear here as an expression of an exclusive concern with 'life', a concept that a cornerstone of philosophical debate of the period.
J. Stanek, Estetika, redakce, Katedra estetiky, Filozoficka fakulta UK, Celetna 20, 116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic,
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